The Customer Comes First!

rushIMPRINT was founded with a simple goal — to offer great products at lightning fast speed while delivering a superior customer experience. Unlike most promotional products companies, our designers are in house which means we can respond in real time to customer requests and come up with awesome designs super fast. We are a web based business, so we also employ a team of IT experts to ensure our website is up to date and easy to use. We use technology to better our business and I think that is part of what makes us successful. We are always looking for ways to do what we do a little bit better, from making our website easier to navigate to researching which promotional products are hot right now.

The bottom line for us has always been, “The customer comes first” and that’s a philosophy we live by — companywide. As CEO, I take responsibility for making sure we are delivering what we promise—and I’m aggressive about it because getting the job done no matter what the deadline is our commitment. Our whole staff embraces that “get it done” mentality; it’s not just the customer service reps, it’s the sales reps, the designers and the folks in accounting all the way up to COO, my brother Mike Broudy.

We care about servicing our customers but we try to maintain a sense of community too—that’s why we are stepping up our charitable giving in 2010. rushIMPRINT has implemented a program to sponsor a different Non Profit Organization every month, because we believe that making the world a better place is even more important then doing a good job.

Nobody cares more about our customer’s experience than I do because I understand that your experience is everything. So if you have an idea about how we can do things better, I’d like to hear it. My goal in writing this blog is not only to share my ideas, but to start a conversation about what matters to you. I look forward to hearing from you—and don’t be surprised if you see the suggestions you make being implemented at rushIMPRINT because, to us, your opinion is the one that matters most.

Dan Broudy, CEO

rushIMPRINT

How to Have a Healthy New Year

The economy is still recovering from its slump, you just received a cell phone bill for $400, and your boss is driving you nuts—but at least you have your health. Right? Well, do you? For many people, the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and/or get fit. I know it’s on the top of my list. Like you, I struggle to keep the resolutions I make each year and come February, I often shrug my shoulders and think, “There’s always next year.” Well, enough is enough. This year can be different…if you want it to be. So, if you are ready to begin 2010 with a healthy new attitude…read on.

Advice from the Experts

The reasons for adopting a healthier lifestyle are obvious, but actually doing it isn’t always so easy. That’s why I spoke to several diet and fitness experts, guru to guru, and came up with a list of 10 tips for turning the average couch potato into a hard body. Try them all or just pick one and get started!

  • Create a goal: My Nana always said, “You’re nothing without a dream.” A goal is simply a dream that you are committed to accomplishing. Decide on a goal, write it down and give yourself a realistic deadline as well as the action steps you plan to take in order to achieve your objective.
  • Share your goal: Tell your spouse, Mom, kids and best friend and ask for their support. It’s harder to quit when you have a cheering section.
  • Walk it off: Go for a walk around the block, the neighborhood or the mall. Walking is easy, fun and free; start by walking 30 minutes every day.
  • Use the buddy system: Join forces with a friend, colleague or neighbor and plan to exercise together a few times a week. If you have the resources, hire a trainer or sign up for an exercise class. It’s more fun to sweat in a group.
  • Do what you enjoy: Figure out what you like to do, rather than what you think you should do, and you are more likely to stick to it. I enjoy yoga and my wife never misses a Pilates class… there are lots of options, from salsa dancing to in-line skating. Explore them all.
  • Get everyone involved: Instead of watching TV or going to the movies with your family, schedule fun, physical activities like skating, touch football, urban hikes or Frisbee matches.
  • Trick yourself: Portion control is one of the keys to losing and maintaining a healthy weight. Trick yourself into eating less by:
    • Using smaller plates: even if you fill up your plate, you are still eating less.
    • When dining out, eat half of what’s on your plate and take the rest home for lunch the next day…or split an entrée with your dining partner. You’ll eat less and save money.
  • Treat yourself: Losing weight doesn’t mean you can’t have a treat every once in a while Instead of depriving yourself of your favorite desserts altogether, limit yourself to a sweet bite once a week. Try eating healthful treats like a couple of squares of dark chocolate or half a cup of low fat frozen yogurt with fruit or a tablespoon of chocolate sauce or non-dairy whipped topping. If you indulge a little, you are less likely to go overboard and wolf down an entire box of cookies.
  • Change a little, save a lot: Save calories by drinking sparkling water instead of sugary sodas and diet drinks, eating fruit instead of drinking fruit juice, and cutting back on or eliminating alcohol.
  • Forgive but don’t forget: Lastly, if you splurge on French-fries or blow off exercising one day, don’t give up. Just recognize that you are human, forgive yourself and get back on track.

As we bring in the 2010 (twenty-ten!) year, health is on our minds and we hope it is on yours, too.  As you’re a critical part of the rushIMPRINT family, we want to live with you and grow old with you too.  We’d love to hear how your health-conscious New Year’s Resolutions progress over the year!

Customer Care

Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

The wife and I were out shopping today and meandered into a wonderful little shop called “Bar Keeper” which was, not surprisingly, a store dedicated to the perfectly appointed home bar. The proprietor stocked all kinds of bar equipment—from fancy glassware to toothpick holders and everything in between. As I perused the antique martini glasses, I longed for the days where a man would come home from the office, hat in hand and his wife would greet him at the door with a perfectly made martini. Or perhaps I have been watching too much “Mad Men.” Since Mrs. Winston and I aren’t big drinkers, we don’t really require items such as flasks and shot glasses but we did spy an item we just had to have…or so we thought.

We love to drink spicy water, my son’s name for sparkling water, so we have talked about purchasing a soda maker that would allow us to make our own carbonated water at home. With some enthusiasm, my wife picked up a carbonated soda maker and exclaimed, “Look Virgil—we need this!” Much to my surprise the proprietor, Joe Keeper, sidled over and said, “No you don’t.” He then went on to explain that owning your own soda maker was not as cost effective as it seemed, since in order to carbonate the water, you also needed to purchase chargers which you can only use one time, necessitating buying many chargers again and again. He then ran the numbers and indeed, the whole operation was actually cost prohibitive. I was stunned. Joe talked us out of a one hundred dollar purchase. I felt so guilty that I bought a bottle of grapefruit bitters (excellent with spicy water) and Mrs. Winston picked up some smart cocktail napkins. Our small purchases certainly didn’t make up for the $100 he lost but that didn’t seem to bother Joe in the least. We left the store feeling cared for and I made a mental note to come back and pick up some special water glasses my wife had her eye on.

Joe did more than make a sale today—he created two customers and made this curmudgeonly marketer smile…something only a very good salesperson can do. I hope the marketing lesson is clear: Care for shoppers and they will soon become customers. It’s not about making that one time sale; it’s about building trust and creating a long-term relationship with people who will come to rely on your expertise and advice. So, in honor of Joe, today’s offering is the Vina Tall Wine Glass—it’s the perfect way to promote your company at the office holiday party and makes a charming keepsake for all the wine drinkers on your list.

Until next time, remember what Joe Keeper knows and my good friend Robert Half always says, “When the customer comes first, the customer will last.”

“Tis The Season

Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

It’s cold and flu season again and that means the Winston household is on full germ alert. Mrs. Winston is a virus vigilante and prides herself on keeping the family fit as a fiddle throughout the season. The moment anyone crosses our garland festooned threshold, they are greeted with a cheery, “Don’t forget to wash your hands” before being offered a beverage or freshly baked holiday cookie. The refrigerator is stocked with orange juice and no one is allowed to eat breakfast until they’ve popped a multi-vitamin washed down with a glass of Emergen-C infused water. Our cupboards are stocked with every homeopathic remedy known to man and she has placed a family wide ban on handshakes and hugs with anyone who even looks like they may have sneezed in the last week. We have all had our flu shots but that does not mean my wife will let her guard down for an instant. She won’t relax until we are well into spring, or what I like to call, “allergy season.”

Since we go through almost as much hand sanitizer as a mid-sized hospital, I have decided to turn my wife’s anti-germ obsession into a marketing opportunity, so the hand sanitizer we use everyday is imprinted with my logo and a pithy message about cleanliness. Thanks to Mrs. Winston’s germ phobia and my promotional marketing acumen, my brand is spreading faster than you can say, “rhinovirus.” The marketing lesson here is simple—when choosing a promotional item, go with the flow. If everyone is sniffling and sneezing, give them a health related promotional gift and they will thank you with every “achoo.”

I’ve got to take the car in for a check-up—Mrs. Winston has put the kibosh on air travel so I am driving 600 miles to my next speaking engagement. Until next time, I leave you with Erma Bombeck’s rule of Medicine, “Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.”

Word Nerd

Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

Did you know that the word queue is the only word in the English language that is still pronounced the same way when the last four letters are removed? Of course “q” is not a word but that doesn’t change the fact that I spend way too much time reading the dictionary. My wife jokes that the dictionary is my bible and as a card carrying “word nerd,” I’d be hard pressed to disagree. I play Scrabble daily and read my Thesaurus like it’s pulp fiction. I recently joined an online word-lovers community so I can commune with like-minded folks on a regular basis. After twenty years of marriage, Mrs. Winston is finally over my word games so I had to branch out…for the sake of our marriage. Nobody wants to divorce over a game of “Synonym or Homonym?”

There are not many things I enjoy more than word play so it should come as no surprise that I think The Power of Words Calendar is the perfect pre-holiday gift for everyone on your list. Inspirational quotes speak for themselves on this unique motivational calendar. It attracts attention all year long and is especially well suited for advertisers in the insurance or education markets, but anyone who believes in the power of words to inform, change and incite action will love it.

One of the best ways to market your company is by inspiring others, which is why I like to give gifts with a message. Everyone, including your clients, could use a little pick me up once in a while and it may as well come from you. That way, your gift keeps right on giving…in a meaningful way. Don’t forget to add your logo so the recipient will know whom to thank for their daily dose of encouragement.

I’ve got to go prepare for my monthly “Thesaurus Club” meeting—I’m hosting. Until next time, I leave you with a quote from the inimitably quotable, Winston Churchill, “In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.

Portrait of Procrastination

Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

I know I’m not the only one who peruses Facebook for hours on end looking up old college chums and commenting on my former babysitter’s photos of adorable kittens wearing Halloween costumes even though I am on a deadline. And surely I am not the one person who decides that he simply cannot do another lick of work until he has changed every light bulb in the house, watched a rerun of Law & Order and organized the bookshelf in the den. Admit it; you procrastinate as often as the next person. As much as I would like to believe that my blog is required reading, you are probably reading it right now in order to avoid your inbox. But I’m not one to judge. How can I judge you when I actually cleaned out the garage in order to avoid writing this very blog? Let’s face it; we all do just about anything to avoid doing what we should be doing—especially if what we should be doing feels like a chore. Don’t get me wrong; I love my work. Nothing gives me more pleasure than offering words of marketing wisdom to my legions of followers but I am only human and therefore, I procrastinate. And so do you.

In fact, I’d be willing to bet you have put off ordering personalized holiday cards to send to your top clients, haven’t you? Fortunately for me, Mrs. Winston is in charge of greeting cards so there are currently two hundred and twenty seven (we have a large family) stamped envelopes sitting on the table by the door waiting to be dropped off at the post office by yours truly. Fortunately for you, Rush Imprint understands that most people practice the fine art of procrastination when it comes to sending holiday cards so it’s still not too late for you to order custom greetings. All you have to do is upload your logo and message and you are good to go. But don’t put it off for too long…otherwise you’ll have to resort to sending customized National Bird Day (January 5th) cards.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must play a word in my online Scrabble game, dust my “Speaker of the Year” trophy and rearrange my paperclips before I return my editor’s call. Until next time, I leave you with the words of Edward Young, whose procrastinating days are long over, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Now get back to work!

Letter Writing Day

Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

December 7th is Letter Writing Day, a day meant to inspire communication the old fashioned way…by putting pen to paper and sending someone a hand written letter. Letter writing is almost a lost art, since most correspondence today takes place via email, instant message or text. When was the last time you actually sat down with a piece of paper and a pen and wrote a letter to someone? If you are like me, you probably can’t remember that far back. Thank you notes and birthday card don’t count. The really sad thing is, our kids will probably never know the joy of passing hand written notes in class, or writing a long love letter to the cute guy or gal who sits behind them in Chemistry; they’ll just send a text or poke them on Facebook and be done with it. I cannot bear to let that happen however and have vowed to keep letter writing alive for my children. That is why I have declared the 7th day of every month Letter Writing Day in the Winston household. Won’t you join us?

Appropriately, today’s offering is an elegant Silver Plated Star Letter Opener, perfect for opening letters, love notes, birthday cards and even bills. It’s a throwback gift that lets your clients know you are an old fashioned business—the kind that cares about its customers and delivers on its promises. I am giving one to each of my children to encourage them on their letter-writing journey. I just hope nobody pokes an eye out.
Well, I’ve got to go meet my trainer—I overindulged a bit on Thanksgiving and I’m determined to stay fit so I can do it again on Christmas. Until we meet again, I leave you with a few lines from W.H. Auden. “And none will hear the postman’s knock
 without a quickening of the heart. For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?”


Black Friday

Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

“Black Friday” is Mrs. Winston’s favorite day of the year. Marking the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and taking place the day after Thanksgiving, “Black Friday” is not an official holiday, but many employees have the day off (with the exception of those employed in Retail and Banking). Interestingly, the origin of the unofficial holiday dates back to 1965. “Black Friday” was named so by the Philadelphia Police Department because it brought massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks to the city center since the downtown stores were mobbed from opening to closing. It was not used as affectionately as it is now. Of course nowadays the shopping begins as early as midnight and continues for the next 24 hours—and shopaholics everywhere are free to gorge on goodies all day and into the night. Most stores have super sales and bargains galore, but you have to have an eagle eye, a strong constitution and the patience of Job to go the distance. I hate shopping but I enjoy “Black Friday” because I have the house to myself most of day. Mrs. Winston wakes up at dawn, power shops until noon, swings by to pick up the kids and doesn’t return until after dinner. I spend all day alone with my dictionary and Thesaurus and play power Scrabble until I can no longer type. Everybody wins.
To ensure your business comes out on top, try offering something special the day after Thanksgiving. You don’t have to slash your prices but you could offer a little something extra like a GWP (gift with purchase). I like GWPs because they do double duty as promotional tools. An Eco Tote Bag is a stylish and environmentally friendly way to say “thank you for your business” and advertise your company at the same time. I also like to give away imprinted USB Flash Drives because they are used so often and change hands frequently…making your message (and marketing dollar) go even further. The point is, every holiday (real or not) offers ample opportunity to thank your customers and market your business, so make sure you are prepared.
Speaking of preparation, I’ve got to bone up on two letter words. I’m playing in a Scrabble tournament against a sixth grader and I don’t want a repeat of last year’s debacle. The kid is an animal. Until next time, I leave you with Mrs. Winston’s shopping motto: “If it’s on sale, it doesn’t make your butt look big.”

Conversation Piece

Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

“Virgil, we need to talk” are not the words I relish waking up to on a lazy Sunday morning…especially when the one uttering such missives is my lovely bride. It can only mean one thing—I’m in trouble. It’s been one of those weeks and I don’t really need more strife, so I rolled over and pretended to sleep. Unfortunately, twenty years of marriage means that Mrs. Winston is wise to my games and she wasn’t having it. So, I peeled myself out of bed, jammed my feet into my favorite slippers and headed downstairs for some eye opening java. I sat down at the kitchen table and braced myself for Mrs. Winston to innumerate my misdeeds. And then she surprised me. She sat down, took my hand and said she wanted to talk more…in general and that ““Better Conversation Week”” was coming up and seemed like a good time to start. Well, that was certainly a relief…for about ten seconds, which is precisely how long it took me to realize I’d have to start having deeper, more meaningful conversations (or at least interesting ones) with my wife. I hate Sundays.
“Better Conversation Week” starts November 22nd and is the perfect opportunity to start dialoging with your spouse about something other than what is for dinner and how the dog is digging up the yard again. Perhaps you can explore new topics such as the latest book you’re reading, world politics or the new exhibit at your local museum. Instead of haranguing your children about homework, try engaging them in meaningful dialogue about their favorite author or iphone app.

Better conversations aren’t just for home use—this week is an opportune time to engage your customers in conversation about your business. Pick up the phone and start asking them what you can do to make them happier. Look for conversations already in progress on the web—visit message boards and blogs and “talk” with your core audience to learn about their needs and discuss how you can meet them. Communication is also the best way to motivate your sales force. Find out what makes them tick and you can inspire them to do their best and close the deal. Why not celebrate better conversations at work by gifting your team with a fun, fresh gift like Hexi-Sell Decision Dice? The conversation starting dice are made of solid wood and engraved with catch phrases like, “Pound the Pavement” and “Close the Deal.” This gift is sure to bring a smile to any sales rep’s lips and will keep the conversation going for years to come.

Join The Winston’s as we celebrate “Better Conversation Week,” because as Ordway Tead once remarked, “Conversation is the fine art of mutual consideration and communication about matters of common interest that basically have some human importance.” Well said.

Thanksgiving

Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

The holiday season is in full bloom—I know because my wife is panicking about all the leftover Halloween candy and the stores are stocked with Christmas decorations. Although I enjoy the holiday season in all its glory, I find it a bit off-putting to hear Christmas carols every time I go to the drugstore to buy earplugs. I think that’s why I like Thanksgiving—there are no songs to sing, presents to buy or trees to erect. Thanksgiving is about three things: giving thanks, spending time with family and friends and eating until your pants no longer button.

We are hosting the annual Turkey Day meal this year and Mrs. Winston has already begun practicing her famous, or infamous, stuffing recipe and searching for the perfect pumpkin pie. I am the designated turkey maker and have been researching deep fryers. I have been told that deep fried turkey is the juiciest, most delectable and fastest way to prepare a turkey and I look forward to finding out for myself. It may not be the healthiest preparation, but Thanksgiving is the one day when calorie counting is not allowed. Since my family and I eat healthfully the other 364 days of the year, I don’t feel too guilty about splurging in the name of tradition. In fact, I’m downright thankful that I can.

I hope you find an abundance of reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving, but if you need some help, Rush Imprint has a plethora of promotional products that should do the trick. For those clients in cold climates, the Danbury Ice Scraper is a cool choice that will have the recipients thanking you on frost filled winter mornings. It’s a practical, thoughtful gift that will insure you are at the top of the list come Christmas time.

Well, I’ve got to go—the department store down the street is having a sale on deep fryers and I want to be first in line. As Thanksgiving approaches, remember the words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”